Defensive Tackle Kurt Wallin:
"I feel good so far. All of the defensive players are still learning the new scheme, but I think it's going well. It's probably too early to judge where we're at, but we should be all right…the defensive line has probably less to learn than the rest of the defense. There are no excuses for mistakes on the defensive line, because we're not covering anybody. We either go one way or another, there's not a whole lot of adjustments…We have a lot of great defensive tackles, and we should have a great rotation going among all of us…I don't see any difference between my position coach this year and last year. They are both great coaches. I had a strong connection with last year's defensive coach. He taught me a lot of the game of Football and how to play it. Coach Monachino is teaching me new things. As far as specifics, It's hard for me to point anything out…I'm sad that this is my last Tontozona, but I am sad that this is my last year playing at ASU. I grew up in the valley, and my family has come to all my home games. I remember when I came here seven years ago (Kurt redshirted one year and served on admission for two years) thinking my senior year was so far away. And now here we are in my senior year…My personal goal is to win the Pac-10, and win a national championship. If we win the conference, I think we'll be in great shape to compete for the national championship."
Defensive Backs Coach Ron English:
"I'm not worried about the youth and inexperience of the cornerbacks. It's not my philosophy to worry. I think if you worry, your players start to worry. I just want them to play and get better consistently from the beginning of the season until the end. I rather have a lot of young talented players, then a lot of older less talented players…the three safety alignment will make our defense look more like a one safety alignment (because two of the safeties line up much closer to the line of scrimmage), but it really isn't. The three-safety alignment allows our corners to get more one-on-one coverage, and have the opportunity to make plays. Bottom line is that in this scheme the corners won't always know where the safety help will come from, and opposing offenses will attack our corners… Baker and Sterling will not redshirt. If the season started today, Oliver and Franklin would start just because of their experience, but I tell my players that the evaluation is a day-to-day process. Whoever practices well plays. I plan to play 4-5 guys…Hackett did very well during the newcomers practice. He's an older guy compared to the rest, and he has more experience. He's quick and has good coverage skills. I'm close to his coach, and him and I teach the same techniques. So O.J. does have a head start in that sense…I don't know if we have to prove to everyone that they shouldn't be worried about us. I think any time you have a group of guys who didn't see a lot of playing time, you will always have some question marks about them. I'm not looking to ease any worries that other may have. I know that this group is talented enough to get the job done."
Wide Receiver Donnie O'neal:
"I can't believe this is my last year. I'm excited, and I think this will be a lot of fun. In Tontozona, I'm just going to work hard as much as I can, study the playbook hard, and have fun with the freshmen (smile). I'm really looking forward to it, and I'm really confident about this season. We have great playmakers, and we have a system that is full of big plays. I'm anxious to see what I can do…I don't think we lack speed. McDonald, Taplin are very fast, so is Lightfoot. I think I'm pretty quick too. We have nothing to prove. We know what we can do, and we will surprise some people if they think we don't have speed…Lighgtfoot looked great in the newcomers practice, but it is going to be very different for him once he gets to play the veteran players. If he can take the licks, learn the system quickly, and mature fast, he'll be fine. It's really all in his hands…My goals are to win every single game. If we do that, everything else will come. I don't have a number of catches or touchdowns I'm trying to achieve, or anything like that. If we win every game, than my personal goals will be taken care of."
Linebacker Eric Fields:
"In my unbiased opinion, we do have the best linebackers in the Pac-10. I think our depth will make things much easier for the linebackers in the two-linebacker system. We have linebackers that can cover a lot of ground. Our new defense scheme is less restrictive, and that plays well to our talent…I'm expecting to see a lot of rotation among the linebackers. A lot of us play special teams, so we need to keep everybody fresh…It's a sweet sorrow this being my senior year (smile). Seriously, I'm just focus and anxious to go up to camp. I've done camp so many times, I just want consume it all this year. There's no pressure…I think we are becoming "Linebacker U." We recruit quality athletes like Tillman and Archuleta, which show everybody that a linebacker can weigh less than 240 pounds and still be a great linebacker and play at a high level. Even a gut like Bates as big as he is, can cover a lot of ground like smaller linebackers. So yes, I do think ASU does a good job turning out quality linebackers."
Defensive Line Coach Ted Monachino:
"Since I didn't have a chance to really coach Suggs during the season, but I'm looking forward to it. There are definitely a lot of things he brings to the table athletically, but we do need to develop other aspects of his game like leadership skills. That has been a lot fun doing. As far as his impact on the whole team, he brings an infectious enthusiasm to our defense. He loves to play, he loves to practice, and that rubs off on to his teammates…It's difficult to double-team Suggs in the position he plays. Most likely he'll have a tackle and a back on him. In space Suggs will be fine beating two blocks on one pass rush. We don't count more on Suggs than anybody else on the line. We have four guys that we expected to know their job and do it full speed on every snap. Through the last six months, the players have bought into the idea that we don't count on one guy to get the job done, we count all four players who are on the field at that time…We do have a mix of undersized tackles (Wallin) and bigger ones (Glass), We will use them as the scheme and the play on the field dictates. Whatever player can help us the most on a specific play, that's the one who will play. All our players have improved their physical abilities. Some gained weight like Wallin, some lost weight like Townsend. Each player brings something else to the table. The goal I have in camp is to find the four guys who perform the most consistently during the whole camp...The 4-2-5 scheme really doesn't impact the defensive line a whole lot. The one thing it does impact is that one end will have a contain responsibility and one won't. But overall with the safety support on both sides, our defensive ends can go out there and make things happen, with out worrying too much about containing one specific guy…Beal and Townsend have really bettered themselves through the conditioning program. Beal has been a pleasure to work with from day one. He really likes the previous coaching staff, but he was ready for a change and bought in as quick as any other player. He's not afraid to dream big, and that's great because some players are apprehensive of doing that. Townsend on the other hand has been a quality player for a while here, but he had a lot of good players playing in front of him and as a result he didn't see much playing time. He came out of spring practice as one of our two best tackles…our top four tackles are Wallin, Townsend, Glass, and Massianni. Our four top ends are Suggs, Fox, Montesanto, and Howell. I don't who would start if the season started today, but all these guys have valuable Pac-10 experience and have proved they can play."
ASU Media Day Notes Part II
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